We went out to dinner last night to celebrate my husband’s new job (woohoo!!!) and while looking at the menu, I thought what better thing to blog about than portion control? Eating out is pretty much a way of life for *most* people. We are busy and we HAVE to eat so stopping at <insert delicious drive-thru here> is pretty darn easy to do. Going out to eat pre-surgery was like my favorite thing. I would shove my fat face with as much delicious food as I could handle without bursting my buttons. I think one time, I might have actually burst a button. Sushi, pizza, pasta, Chinese food…did I mention pizza? I would go to Wendy’s and order their friend chicken sandwich and I would only get mayo (plus extra mayo) and pickles on it, then I would order a large French fries with extra salt and a Dt. Coke. Gee, why was I fat???
Fast forward to post surgery. I scan the menu and I get upset. I get upset for 2 reasons:
- I want the bacon cheeseburger with a large fry and a chocolate milk shake with a liter of Cola.
- I know that if I eat number 1, I’ll regret it and dump (see nom nom nom section of my blog)
Now when we go out to eat, I order off of the kids menu whenever possible. I actually have this card from my surgeon that says, “this person had gastric bypass, please allow them to order smaller portions”. Why are portions so big anyway? You can supersize your McDonalds meal, get endless pasta at Olive Garden, and eat your weight in burgers with the Burger King bacon-challenge. Did I mention the endless buffets now-a-days? We simply don’t eat at buffets because it’s a waste of money. Why would I pay $15.00 for all-you-can-stuff-in-your-fat-face if my fat face can only handle ½ a cup of food?
I don’t really think that Americans eat larger portions because they’re hungry and they WANT to shove their face full of food. I think that we eat larger portions because we’ve been conditioned to believe this is what we want. Hold on, don’t leave. I don’t think we are being brain-washed and I’m not a conspiracy theorist so just hear me out. This appeals to us because we are busy people. I don’t have time to make dinner so I’m going to stop and pick up a burger but tomorrow we’ll eat a salad. Except tomorrow you realize you didn’t go to the grocery store and you heard a commercial for KFC’s new bucket (who needs a BUCKET?) of chicken so you swing in and pick it up.
There are studies out there that prove that most people will eat the portion of food they are given regardless if they are hungry or not. Finish the food on your plate because there are starving children in…<insert 3rd world country here>. Portion size is the amount of a single food item served in a single eating occasion (snack). Many people confuse portion size with serving size which is a standardized unit of measuring foods (cup/oz). So, to make my point: Bagels and muffins are often sold in sizes that constitute at least 2 servings but we eat both of them because, hey, they came together so that must be what I should eat. Your portion size was more than 1 serving.
The more you don’t understand these things, the easier it is to over-consume. Fast food and restaurant meals are not appropriate serving sizes. At TGI Fridays you can get the Jack Daniels chicken and it comes with TWO breasts. The logical thing would be to split everything in half and have 2 meals but when you’re out with friends and have a few cocktails, you end up eating your entire meal, an appetizer, plus dessert. Now you’ve had more calories for dinner than you should have had all day. Why? Simply (to take from my media course) advertising wants you to consume and the more you consume the more you spend and the more money they make. My teacher made a great point. When you’re looking at a magazine, you’ll see an ad for the gym but on the next page there will be a recipe for a delicious chocolate cake and on the next page an ad of a beautiful woman sporting a new pair of leggings. It’s a vicious cycle to spend and it doesn’t matter if you’re spending your money on food or clothes or widgets, as long as you’re spending. You, my friend, are a consumer. CONSUME!